Non-duality AND Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:10 am

I recommend reviewing the words of the Blessed One in these regards.
MN 1 - Mulapariyaya Sutta: The Root Sequence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

By means of Jhana, the mindful attention of consciousness can be reduced, reified or concentrated to one condition. The sphere of awareness of that one condition is the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception; which is to say, only this one condition, without second or in other words without 'the duality of this condition as subject and a secondary condition or group of compounded conditions as object'.

In keeping with this understanding, this single subtlest of conditions, is the same condition which in sequences of contact with any and all arising and passing conditions produces formations or the conventional objects of perception and thereby produces cognizance of all things in the sequences of individuated experience.

This condition arises and passes like all others - very rapidly. This condition appears and in doing so it makes contact or 'clings' momentarily and then vanishes only to arise again in contact with the next object of cognition. In keeping with the conditions pertaining to any given arisen kamma (be it active and/or resultant) it rapidly moves on to take up one object after another in rapid series' of cognitions.

By the uninstructed and untrained these forms of awareness are then misperceived and misconceived as being any number of things that all of this conditionally dependent phenomena is actually not. One such misperception and misconception of our circumstances is that posited by Advaita Vedanta.

Unfortunately, for all parties in disagreement in these regards, this contest cannot be satisfactorily resolved by debate or reasoning, it must be investigated directly and this requires the extensive development of skill in satipatthana and samathavipassana. This kind of meditative work is what I would encourage anyone who truly seeks to satisfactorily resolve these questions undertake to do.

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:24 am

Good points Nathan. One cannot get at the heart of this matter with debate and dualistic reasoning.

Both systems (Buddhist and Advaita) point out what a waste of time that is. These are intellectual ego games. And the only way one can participate is to play that way, configure your mind to think that way. No thanks.

Once again, I'll share the key points made by Seng Tsan, which are in line with what nathan just said. Such discussions simply serve no useful purpose, from the perspective of both Advaita and Zen.

:namaste:

"If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know. To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions. Do not remain in the dualistic state -- avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way. When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist."


~Seng Tsan
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:32 am

christopher::: wrote:Good points Nathan. One cannot get at the heart of this matter with debate and dualistic reasoning.

Both systems (Buddhist and Advaita) point out what a waste of time that is.


Actually, Buddhists, such as the Gelugpas, Sakyapas, and probably the other two schools see a great deal of advanatge in establishing Right View. Hindu monism is something thatr is clearly rejected.

And if you want dualism, in spades, then non-dualism is the way to go. I have not seen anything more dualistic than all the talk about non-dualism.

Also, one of the interesting things about jhana meditation is that it can be very easily colored by one's beliefs. It is a good way to "attain non-dualism," or make yourself think that you have.

As far as the "One" is concerned, "One" what?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:19 am

I don't know enough to contribute to this thread, but I am frustrated by the strange logic that is being used, which seems to be saying something like:

"Analysis is dualistic, therefore I win because you are analysing..." :jedi:

By all means, if you don't want to engage in analysis, don't. It may well be a waste of time to do too much analysis. But why keep repeating that in a thread where analysis is the whole point?

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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:IBut why keep repeating that in a thread where analysis is the whole point?

Mike

Because non-dualism is a warm fuzzy thing that makes people feel good. There is a natural self driven tendency towards its, and those committed to it want to reduce everything to it.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:As far as the "One" is concerned, "One" what?
hi Tilt
I'm not really sure what you are referring to but in case it is the 'one condition' I mentioned then that one condition is the eighth jhana or neither perception nor non-perception - which has only one condition, consciousness or 'the capacity for cognizance' without any condition added such as to be the subject of cognizance. In effect this results in cognizance resorting to it's own capacity for cognizance in order to serve as both subject and object. Letting go of this one condition there is then complete cessation - nibbana - no conditions arising - unbinding.

This is quite different from Advaitist or Mahayana conceptions of RIgpa, primordial consciousness, Brahmatta, Buddha nature, the Great Spirit and so on which involve both this condition and all other compounded conditions together with various other qualifiers and modifiers. This singular condition of cognizance, in isolation, is very subtle and has no other characteristics which can be described. The only sense that persists in arising and passing within this jhana is the sense that consciousness is still persisting in the absence of all other objects. The negation of objects or the perception of the condition of nothingness - the next simplest compounded state of consciousness - the seventh jhana - is made up of primordial consciousness/ignorance/avidya and the condition of nothingness as it's sole object.

The Buddha rightly points out that even this root condition has the three marks of dependently originated conditionality, that it is unsatisfactory, essence-less or core-less and fleetingly temporary. It is the speed with which the condition appears and disappears, again and again, which gives the impression that it is continual when upon thorough investigation it is found that it is not.

The Buddha also demonstrates that this condition is necessarily ignorant as, alone, it is not capable of giving rise to any sort of awareness of anything whatsoever. This is primal ignorance or Avidya, the root ignorance. It is also the root of clinging as it is this condition of cognizance which clings to further existence by continuing on with the initiation of ongoing concatenations of mind and sense contacts and gives rise to further compounded fabrications and formations or causal existence; birth, aging, death, etc..

So, in keeping with right view, there is no duality or non-duality worthy of consideration, there is only dependent origination or causality and the skillful means to see this for what it is. In keeping with this it is best to place this within the context of the whole purpose of this investigation into the nature of being, namely to bring an end, a cessation to suffering. This will require the abandoning of desire for all conditions that pertain to the continued formation of a compounded 'so called being' and this includes consciousness of all kinds, including this, the simplest form of consciousness.

As Theravadans it is only in terms of pointing out the subject/object relations in regards to conditions that it is necessary to refer to one not two, two, three, compounded, dual, non-dual, etc.. Only to demonstrate that these things are not as others hold them to be when they speak of dualism or non-dualism. Apart from this terms like duality and non-duality are not necessary and I for one do not like to use them. I do not relate these concepts in any way to my meditative practices. I focus on the 4NT, the three marks, appearances and disappearances, the stilling of the mind, the cessations of desire and of the arising of formations and so on.

Throughout the centuries, historically and generally speaking, since the lifetime of the Buddha, overall, in due course, ignorance has continued to compound. The true significances of the various teachings has been obscured to one extent or another. It remains to be seen how much can be brought back to light and rightly understood within our own lifetimes. Based on what I have read in my lifetime, I would say that, at least in the west, we are far better off now in terms of forming a right understanding than we were in even the relatively recent past. We have come a long ways since westerners first encountered and undertook the effort to understand what the Buddha's doctrine and discipline is about.

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:33 am

Nathan,

Good stuff you wrote. My point was simply that some non-dualists talk about some sort of one thingie, and I am simply asking what is the one thingie that might be the goal of non-dualism?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:30 pm

Fascinating, nathan! The seventh jhana is the root ignorance, or still contains qualities of ignorance? And are you saying that all Mahayana experiences are at best seventh jhana or that Mahayana Buddhist conceptions are such? Cause it often seems to me that the great masters (of all traditions) frequently urge practitioners to go beyond all conceptions, in a manner similar to how you are describing the Buddha's advice concerning practice of the eighth jhana..

Dual, nondual, rigpa, One, Tao, whatever.

All conceptions of such must be let go of.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:30 pm

Just found an interesting passage (actually a hindu showed it to me)


Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying at Uruvela... for seven days experiencing the bliss of liberation. Then, at the end of those seven days, the Lord... gave well-reasoned attention during the last watch of the night to dependent arising in both forward and reverse order, thus:

This being, that is;
from the arising of this, that arises;
this not being, that is not;
from the cessation of this, that ceases.

That is: with ignorance as condition, volitional activities come to be; ... with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair come to be. This is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

But from the complete disappearance and cessation of ignorance, volitional activities cease; ... from the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. This is the ceasing of this whole mass of suffering.

Then, on realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:

When things become manifest
To the ardent meditating brahman,
He abides scattering Mara's host
Like the sun illumining the sky.


why is Buddha refering to hindu Brahman (note its not Brahmin)?
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby Individual » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:24 pm

nathan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As far as the "One" is concerned, "One" what?
hi Tilt
I'm not really sure what you are referring to but in case it is the 'one condition' I mentioned then that one condition is the eighth jhana or neither perception nor non-perception - which has only one condition, consciousness or 'the capacity for cognizance' without any condition added such as to be the subject of cognizance. In effect this results in cognizance resorting to it's own capacity for cognizance in order to serve as both subject and object. Letting go of this one condition there is then complete cessation - nibbana - no conditions arising - unbinding.

So then let go of Advaita?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:25 pm

Individual wrote:
nathan wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As far as the "One" is concerned, "One" what?
hi Tilt
I'm not really sure what you are referring to but in case it is the 'one condition' I mentioned then that one condition is the eighth jhana or neither perception nor non-perception - which has only one condition, consciousness or 'the capacity for cognizance' without any condition added such as to be the subject of cognizance. In effect this results in cognizance resorting to it's own capacity for cognizance in order to serve as both subject and object. Letting go of this one condition there is then complete cessation - nibbana - no conditions arising - unbinding.

So then let go of Advaita?

And you can let go of getting cranky about people criticizing Advaita [given that, by your admission, you know next to nothing about it).
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:47 pm

clw_uk wrote:why is Buddha refering to hindu Brahman (note its not Brahmin)?

He's not. That's the usual way to spell it.

As in Brahma-vihāra, Brahma-cariya, Brahma-kāyika-deva, etc.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... ih%C4%81ra
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:06 pm

christopher::: wrote:Fascinating, nathan! The seventh jhana is the root ignorance, or still contains qualities of ignorance? And are you saying that all Mahayana experiences are at best seventh jhana or that Mahayana Buddhist conceptions are such? Cause it often seems to me that the great masters (of all traditions) frequently urge practitioners to go beyond all conceptions, in a manner similar to how you are describing the Buddha's advice concerning practice of the eighth jhana..

Dual, nondual, rigpa, One, Tao, whatever.

All conceptions of such must be let go of.

:namaste:
For final and complete liberation from suffering, all conceptions, all things that bind one to ongoing being and becoming must be let go of. Does Rigpa provide one with the capacities to observe what these things are? It does not appear so from the things people have said about it. There are a lot of ways to manipulate the mind, a lot of ways to 'feel great' and as such that is very likely the beginning and end of such states of mind. My question is, what does the state of 'fill in the blank' lead to? in a 'this leads to that' sort of a way. If it goes from nowhere in particular to nowhere in particular in terms of developing the mind, then that about sums up it's utility for me and my needs.

The seventh jhana is nothingness which is formed of two mental conditions; the capacity for cognition and it's concentrated attention fully and completely yoked to awareness of nothingness - which I would describe as simply the abandonment of all other objects, particularly the very subtle objects of the sixth and fifth jhanas which are unbounded consciousness and unbounded space.

The other objects are attenuated out through the first four jhanas. In the first and second jhanas the sensory inputs are tuned out entirely and in the third and fourth jhanas the side effects of having thus concentrated the mind, the bliss and rapture that arises in the body and in the mind are also tuned out. So in the formless jhanas the senses and the body has been abandoned entirely as a source of potential objects and concentration is entirely on mental conditions which have become a singularity. It is then a matter of reductive refinements. Qualities are noted and abandoned.

The first thing that is noted when a concentrated mind entirely abandons the body is that mind no longer has any kind of shape as this has been derived from the body. So, there being no form in one's awareness, the mind appears as 'unbounded' and so this has been called 'infinite space'. After observing this one can determine that the space is entirely empty and although it is a very pleasant object it is not particularly interesting and it that condition of recognition of the absence of form can be abandoned. One then notes that consciousness is also 'infinite' or 'unbounded' which is the recognition that typically it is the sensations in the body and mind that define the nature of mind and without these the mind is entirely free of such definitions. The mind could as easily contact any object of any kind as it has no particular place in which to arise apart from such contacts. Again, a very subtle condition but in this way the mind is 'limited by awareness of that unlimited capacity to contact any object'. So that condition, the condition that mind could contact anything is abandoned and this brings it to nothingness or the awareness of nothing, not even it's own unbounded quality.

When this negation condition is also dropped then consciousness is left with only the capacity to continually arise and pass. This is the only condition of consciousness left and it is the subtlest. To enter nibbana / cessation all that remains is to examine this last subtle condition of mind and then let it go as well.

What I think the Advaitists and Mahayana and so on are talking about is something else entirely. It seems to me as though they are speaking about cleansing the mind of discursive thought, reactive thought, etc.. They are not talking about jhana and they are not talking about nibbana. They are talking about a kind of very clean and clear awareness of all of the things that one can be aware of. I think that is, in itself, not a problem. Having a clear mind is also a goal of Theravada practice. The problem with this thinking and one might also say with these techniques is that they do not provide one with the analytical skills and capacities to become aware of how all of this is coming into being and therefore they do not equip one to observe the three marks of conditional arisings and so they do not lead to dispassion, disillusionment and full release. They may say otherwise, but their thoughts, speech, and actions frequently demonstrate otherwise. Still, in the end, it is up to us as individuals to make our own investigations and draw our own conclusions. I think I have abided in many of these kinds of very clear and open states as well but I do not equate these with the liberation from suffering that the Buddha speaks of in the Pali Tipitaka.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:33 pm

If you stop to think about it, states like rigpa, etc. should be easy to get to for someone who has made efforts and entered successfully into the jhanas. When the mind is concentrated it has been trained to stop roaming about in the body and in mental objects. The mind has been conditioned to one extent or another to stay with only a very few conditions and this is why it is such a pleasant thing to accomplish because all of the variously compounded and colored experiences of diversity are abandoned by concentration.

If, upon emerging from one of the jhanas, one turns one's attention to examining the body and the mind one can do very effective vipassana work because the mind is very, very focused. This is the Buddha's advice to us, to do the work of very precisely investigating the causes of our suffering and to abandon these causes so that we do not continue to suffer in the future.

If however one does not then turn to insight work or vipassana, if one allows the mind to once again freely roam about wherever it will then one will not arrive at a clear and direct understanding of the four noble truths. One will however, for a time, note any number of other very interesting 'side effects'. Colors will appear brighter, sounds will appear clearer, smells will appear more prominently, etc.. This is also because the mind has been trained by concentration to abandon, to one extent or another, it's roaming about and so the senses are bringing to it a more complete experience of whatever is being sensed. However, over time, this will slowly revert to the natural mucked up sort of mind that it was before any training was undertaken unless one again resumes concentration practices and again brings the mind into a complete focus. One can repeat this process over and over again, cleansing the mind and then allowing it to get all mucked up again and it will be a positive process but it will not 'educate' the mind regarding the four noble truths and it will not condition the mind to seek complete release from all forms of further being and becoming.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:05 am

Hi nathan.

I think you have mapped out the "territory" very very well here. I really cannot speak too much of Advaita, for my contact there is limited to discussions with two longterm practitioners, a few key texts i've read, youtube videos and some books.

But as far as Zen & Tibetan Buddhism go, as far as i know they are complete packages, addressing just the sort of things you mention. The mahamudra approach of TB, dzogchen and the Soto Zen school all have the 4NT and 8 fold path as key elements. The dharma is not limited to meditative methods.

Yes, indeed, some Zen & TB practitioners (as well as teachers) consider the elementary teachings secondary, only to fall into the kinds of problems you mention. But I see this with Theravadan practitioners as well, at least in terms of how they can fall into the muck here online, lol.

It's a universal trap, for all practitioners, to stay aware of the very tricky nature of "the monkey mind."

:hug:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:47 am

Dharmajim wrote:
I'm not against a non-dual view if it assists people. By 'assists people' I mean if it helps them to be more kind, to be less self-centered. My observation is that in some cases it accomplishes that.

My quarrel with non-dual teachings, particularly the truncated form in which western non-dualists present it, is the presumption that non-dual is automatically, simply because it is non-dual, superior to those teachings that are not non-dual. I think that is an unwarranted presumption. I think it is arrogant.

I tend to look at views as tools. In a garden shed there are many tools; rakes, clippers, hoes, etc. In cultivating the garden of the mind and heart sometimes we need one tool, sometimes another. Non-dual views can assist someone to see past the display of particularness to that which we all have in common. As a tool this can be efficacious. On the other hand, when the tool of advaita becomes a doctrine, my observation is that it can lead to a kind of callousness in the belief that ONLY the transcendent is real. This is why western advaitans are so lacking in any understanding of love and compassion. To counteract that another tool is needed; something like dependent origination.

Part of my reaction to western advaita is its refusal to recognize its own limitations. Western advaita is a severely truncated, partial presentation of a much broader tradition. Here's an example of what I mean: there are many western advaita teachers who claim to have a lineage connection, or to be inspired by, Ramana Maharshi. Yet I cannot think of a single one of these teachers who lives a life that is in any way similar to the life Ramana lived. All of these western advaita teachers dwell in materially elegant circumstances; none of them enter into renunciation and, in fact, argue against renunciation. In other words, their claim to have a connection with Ramana is completely mental, utterly abstract. It's like a musician saying he's inspired by a great pianist but never actually plays the piano. Or plays any music ever.


Excellent observations, Jim. I agree. This is a trap that arises with all traditions though, doesn't it? I've noticed a sense of superiority rising with practitioners of Buddhism, sometimes, a subtle arrogance. It's hard not to notice it, especially on the Internet. Any path is limited in its utility, and if you think your way is the only way and the best way there is danger right there with that thought. Its not nondual, its not very dharmic either.

I think in the case of Advaita there are many who are attracted to the teachings because of their simplicity. Similar to how people are attracted to Christianity and other theistic faiths that present the idea of God as Source and anchor of our lives. To trust completely in God or to give up the false-self (even for a moment) brings with it great feelings of peace. Nothing to fear, no need to worry.

A similar dynamic can happen with Buddhists drawn to an awareness of emptiness. When you realize everything is empty, what is there to fear or worry about? Feelings of peace arise from detachment, when actually that peace may be linked to aversion- an aversion to life problems, complexity of living, stressful social dynamics, a failure to love. On the other side there is peace and security that arises when we identify with Buddhism/Christianity/etc, a feeling of belongingness or pride, as a member of a wonderful tradition.

This too is a subtle trap, no?

The challenge (as i think you are saying) is to make use of the tools we are given in a very mindful way, with compassion and insight. See the emptiness, but also the form, with gratitude, appreciation, equanimity, loving-kindness and affection. Ideally, i think, this is the way of the Buddha, the heart of dharma practice.

Advaita practitioners and teachers who think they have awakened simply by stepping out of ego-centric thoughts are probably fooling themselves. At the same time, just being a Buddhist, means nothing. Going for refuge is not like being saved by Jesus.

You have to walk the talk every day, live and breathe the dharma completely, to be free...

:console:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism

Postby nathan » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:27 am

christopher::: wrote:Hi nathan.
It's a universal trap, for all practitioners, to stay aware of the very tricky nature of "the monkey mind."

:hug:
hi christopher. When the monkey mind is overcome and the illusion of "being someone" at all in some special and particular way is seen through; after one is aware that one is in the stream of Dhamma, of wisdom, this wisdom, like everything else, is slowly or quickly, pleasantly, neutrally or unpleasantly developing ongoing, until it is really a full and complete realization and understanding.

I think people do wake up, do enter the stream of Dhamma. I also think it is a lot scarier than anyone wants to admit to do that in today's world. So people live in various synthesized lifestyles and unite to support each other in ever shifting varieties of ways as they live and change. They use a lot of labels sometimes and no labels sometimes. Old language sometimes and new language sometimes. The social roles that people take on, the understandings that they have, the terms in which they view the world; these kinds of things continue to change over time.

Its not important when or where or why or who, the Dhamma is always a part of the nature of things and as such anyone can make a connection to it. I had no idea what Dhamma was when I started making efforts towards living in harmony with it's truth, everyone can intuit it in one way or another. Eventually, I realized what it was and identified it as the Buddhadhamma and now I can help it conform this being and becoming even more to the path.

The kind of letting go of 'worldliness' that the Buddha speaks about in the TIpitaka is fairly total. An overall change of another order, on the order of the nature of one's whole life and the standards that one achieves through real efforts. There is a wholesale change in outlook and in makeup. I can't see that there is much compromise in those standards over the entire body of work that the Tipitaka is. It would be pointless for me to say that I only think x percent of it is accurate. I think the suttas and other cannonical texts are so accurate that I am continually amazed that more people don't remark on it. So it is with that in mind that I don't find a continual need to look at things in too many ways that aren't dealt with in one way or another by the Buddha. These approaches often have to be adapted a little to here and now. I have to do it in the context of my present day era, culture and place in the world but apart from some adaptation to that it is very doable in enough ways to apply the teachings as fully as I can.

People who study alot can get lost in worrying about the minutia. No point in worrying about that. Unless an issue arises and is a particular difficulty there is enough teaching to consider and apply, some small portion more of application each day, that one doesn't have to overstudy before there is plenty to be mindful of, to consider wisely and train the mind more with.

The overall message is quite concise and clear and I think it can be found to suit any moment in that the dhamma of every moment is what the eye of dhamma sees when it is born in the individual. This is not the same as giving energy to the intention to also act on that understanding. Acting on that knowledge and vision is effectively taking steps, taking right action to make the right choices in the context of one's own life. Only each of us as individuals can arrive at that kind of clarity and it is as simple as learning from one's conscience about right and wrong in the moment. So I think there is not only a knowingness to be born in the mind but also a strengthening to act on that knowing and from this comes a purity that together leads to the higher levels of sainthood and ultimately freedom in the Buddhas path.

This is the complete way to realize all 4NT, to experience them occurring and to know what this is. There are all kinds of happiness and openness that can arise from all of this. But characteristic dhukkha also is still arising in being and becoming. Even in that form and not attending wisely to all that is arising is not honest mindfulness and discernment of all of the conditions that pertain to our lives.

I find the whole exercise very sobering to undertake but I know that unless I make efforts there will be no progress in a complete sense. I think the work can be brought to completion but I also equate that with a kind of harmless, blameless and pure way of living that I know I am not fully free and awake yet. Still, I don't have to be a believer in it being possible, I am well aware that realizing the full fruit of the path is possible and necessary. I also know that past a given point it is inevitable. This is an incredible relief, a refuge from suffering in itself. So I know that it is only a matter of time, be it this life or the next and so on. That is another wonderful thing about seeing dhamma in the moment.

metta & upekkha
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Non-duality

Postby nathan » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:12 am

christopher::: wrote:The challenge (as i think you are saying) is to make use of the tools we are given in a very mindful way, with compassion and insight. See the emptiness, but also the form, with gratitude, appreciation, equanimity, loving-kindness and affection. Ideally, i think, this is the way of the Buddha, the heart of dharma practice.

Advaita practitioners and teachers who think they have awakened simply by stepping out of ego-centric thoughts are probably fooling themselves. At the same time, just being a Buddhist, means nothing. Going for refuge is not like being saved by Jesus.

You have to walk the talk every day, live and breathe the dharma completely, to be free...

:console:
There is 'a kind of non-duality' that could be considered as such in a given way, if one contends that the path is achievable, realizable, develop-able, perfect-able and entirely, fully awakening and liberating. Then there has to effectively be a living that is only the free side of that duality, a living that is pure and fully knows maintaining that with wisdom, peace and compassion completely expressed. But this is a high standard to achieve and difficult to discern in others. These are also things said of the Buddhadhamma when it is fully realized in the individual Noble Disciple. So, in that sense I think the duality can be escaped even though the relics of the causally compounded conditional forms continues to afflict until it is abandoned at death. But this changes nothing about the whole world and the dualities that fully penetrate this universe with polarized phenomena of innumerably compounded kinds.

:anjali:
Last edited by nathan on Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Non-duality

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:31 am

Non-duality And Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism have acheived oneness. No point in having two threads covering the same ground. Sorry for any confusion.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-duality

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:Non-duality And Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism have acheived oneness. No point in having two threads covering the same ground. Sorry for any confusion.


Masterful merging, tilt..! The two discussions flow together almost seemlessly...

:bow:

Once again, excellent posts, Nathan, very insightful.

This really is the territory which i believe both Advaita Vendanta and Buddhism point to, that we start to step into as our practice matures and deepens. Its also something we can get glimpses of along the way. This is kind of what Zen Buddhists call kensho, i think, when an immature practitioner gets early insights of this nature.

The trap (for practitioners of both ZB and AV) is thinking having such experiences, seeing the world this way for awhile, means one has awakened, when usually there is still so much inner work and unraveling to be done...

In that respect the dharma trumps AV hands down (imo) for the many reasons you have mentioned. Its a complete path, with lots of guidelines, and elders who have successfully gone the distance.

One can still stray off the path, but at least its a well trodden path that is definitely well lit.

On the other hand, the two people who introduced me to AV teachings are both dharma practitioners, who felt that AV and other nondual teachings (like the Tao te Ching, and Wu Wei) provide helpful insights. Kind of like how Taoism had an impact on Chan in China, i think there is a give and take between Buddhism and AV that need not be seen as troubling.

We just need to be mindful, and keep our feet planted in the deeper soil, which is the Buddha's dharma.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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